March 6, 2011
Box Score | Postgame Comments: Part I | Part II
WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - Earning its 10th-straight victory, the Boston University men's basketball team defeated Hartford, 55-49, on Sunday night at Chase Arena to advance to the America East Championship title game. The Terriers (20-13) shot a blistering 20-of-22 (.909) at the free throw line and held the Hawks (11-20) to 35 percent shooting from the field to clinch the program's second-consecutive trip to the final and 15th overall.
As the No. 2 seed, BU will host No. 5 Stony Brook on Saturday (March 12) at Agganis Arena with an NCAA berth on the line. Tip-off is set for 12 p.m. with ESPN2 televising the game. Ticket information for the program's first home America East final since 2003 will be released Monday on GoTerriers.com.
With the score tied at 45-45 with 4:10 remaining, junior Matt Griffin drained a 3-pointer to give BU the lead for good in a contest that featured 13 lead changes. Trailing 51-49 with 11 seconds on the clock, UH's Joe Zeglinski missed a contested jumper, and after senior John Holland grabbed his team-high seventh rebound of the game, the Terriers hit their free throws to pull out the win.
Moving into seventh-place all-time in the America East record book for scoring with 2,166 career points, the AE Player of the Year Holland tallied a game-high 16 points with nine of them coming at the charity stripe off 10 attempts. Contributing three blocks and four rebounds, junior Patrick Hazel was the second Terrier in double figures with 10 points. Griffin added nine points off three 3-pointers, and freshman Dom Morris contributed nine points and six rebounds.
Genesis Maciel and Morgan Sabia each had a team-high 13 points for the Hawks, while Joe Zeglinski recorded a game-high eight rebounds. Joining the 2,000-point club on Saturday against Maine, Zeglinski was held to 3-of-16 shooting and 0-of-8 from beyond the arc. UH finished the game 19-of-54 (.352) with nine 3-pointers and just five trips to the free throw line.
Leading 26-24 at the half, BU only made five field goals in the second but was able to effectively get to the line and score 16 points off 18 attempts. Shooting below 50 percent on the season from the charity stripe, Hazel was clutch, as he hit all six of his shots, including two at 2:24 that gave BU a 50-47 lead.
After Sabia opened the game with a 3-pointer, the Terriers went on an 11-2 run capped by a layup from Morris at 15:07. Holland's basket at 6:34 pushed the lead to 21-13, but the Hawks reeled off eight points with both Clayton Brothers and Genesis Maciel draining open treys to tie the game with 2:47 left in the half.
The second half remained tight the entire 20 minutes with neither team leading by more than four until the final seconds of the game. Sabia and Milton Burton each hit 3-pointers at 19:20 and 15:00 to give UH a one-point advantage. Three minutes later, Burton added another to put the Hawks ahead, 38-36.
UH took its final lead (43-42) with 6:57 remaining when Sabia planted himself under the basket for the score. After Griffin's 3-pointer, Minor and Zeglinski each hit a free throw to tie the game (43-43) for the seventh and final time at 4:26.
Freshman D.J. Irving set up Griffin the final 3-pointer of the game by either team with 4:10 left on the clock. Holland made a free throw to give BU a 51-47 lead at 1:07, but Zeglinski immediately responded with a jumper to cut UH's deficit to two.
After earning the defensive stop, UH had a chance to either tie the game or take the lead, but BU's swarming defense forced a tough attempt from Zeglinski. Following two free throws by Holland, UH turned the ball over on the inbounds pass, preventing any chance of a miracle rally in the final eight seconds.
The Terriers went 14-of-33 (.424) from the field and won the battle at the glass, 32-25. UH though stayed close by enticing BU into 17 turnovers and converting them into 20 points. Both squads had just 14 points scored inside the paint, as they combined for 16 3-pointers.
Avenging a 2008 AE semifinal loss to the Hawks, BU improves to 7-0 all-time as the No. 2 seed in AE semifinal action and will try to duplicate the success of the 1988, 1990 and 2002 championship teams. Sunday's win also helped second-year head coach Patrick Chambers make program history, as he became the first to earn 20 wins in each of his first two seasons.
He will try to lead the team to a three-game sweep over SBU next Saturday. The Seawolves reached the final by upsetting No. 1 Vermont in dominating fashion, 69-47. BU earlier won 67-62 at Case Gym on Jan. 20 and then pulled out a 62-49 win on Feb. 12 in Long Island.
The Seawolves will be looking for revenge, as they were eliminated last season in the AE semifinals as the regular season champion by the then-No. 4 Terriers in a thrilling 70-63 game.